HAWAII STATE HOUSE KILLS DECRIMINALIZATION OF MARIJUANA BILL
by former Councilmember Tom Berg, Public Relations Director, NORML HI
Honolulu, Hawaii April 3, 2013: Senate Bill 472 (SB472 SD1 HD1) was a means for adults in Hawaii to no longer be treated like a criminal when apprehended for smoking small amounts of pot. It was hoped the House would consider lessening the 20-gram threshold to 7-grams or less to keep the bill alive and reach a compromise for those that thought 20-grams was too much.
SB472 SD1 HD1 was recommitted back to the Hawaii State House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee today by a unanimous vote and such procedure is often used as a mechanism to kill a bill.
“There are technical and procedural maneuvers still in play that legislators can initiate to ‘light-up’ the bill again for passage before sine die. However, they all caved in today and the aftermath of their decision is that people caught with one joint on them, can still face a $1,000 fine and be imprisoned. Not only can they lose their jobs and student loans in the process, but have their lives completely destroyed.”
NORML HI Chapter has used former President Jimmy Carter’s statement to congress in 1977 about the use of marijuana in their testimony which reiterates,“Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.” And on December 12, 2012, in a widely publicized forum on both Washington and Colorado passing legalization laws for marijuana, he said this, “I’m in favor of it. I think it’s OK.”
Julius Lannutti, executive director for NORML HI Chapter made this statement, “While other states are decriminalizing, even legalizing the use of moderate amounts of marijuana, Hawaii continues to impose one of the highest fines in the nation and is still jailing users with small amounts of marijuana. Senate Bill 472 stands to correct Hawaii’s archaic and misguided criminal assault on a plant. We will hold rallies, educate and counter the negative, often deceptive propaganda being used by those to squash the passage of this bill that their continued prohibition mentality on this plant is unfounded.”